From Goodreads.com: Fourteen-year-old TJ and her family are forced to move from their farm to the suburbs. She has to give up her beloved horse, Red, but she makes a surprising new friend. Elizabeth is a Little, a six-inch-high punked-out teen with an attitude, who has run away from home to make her way in the world. TJ and Elizabeth the Big and the Little soon become friends, but each quickly finds herself in a truly life-threatening situation, and they are unable to help each other. Little (Grrl) Lost is a delightful combination of realism, magic, humor, and hope, and is sure to win Charles de Lint many new teen and adult fans.
I was really excited about this book because it features Littles. Having been a fan of stories and movies featuring little people (such as The Borrowers) this book seemed like it would be an easy win. The Little of the book, Elizabeth, did not disappoint. She was a fun character to read as she had a lot of attitude and went on enough adventures to back it up. It was fun following her as she discovered the faerie world she never knew existed, and how she struggles to find a place where she belongs.
TJ, on the other hand, was incredibly difficult to like. I understand that TJ is supposed to be a naive country girl out of her element in the big city – but there’s a difference between being naive and being stupid. I couldn’t get attached to the character because I was constantly hating every choice she made. She seemed to have no concern for her own safety, and even when aware of the risks, TJ still made the bad choice, putting herself into literally life-threatening situations more than once. There was little to no character development because she never seemed to learn from her terrible decisions. Her “adventures” seemed unnecessary, as they were caused only by her own reckless behaviour.
As for the world that De Lint created, as usual I loved it. Elizabeth discovers a whole faerie underworld hidden in the city, full of creatures she didn’t know existed. I loved reading about her surroundings and how she interacted with a busy goblin market. While TJ’s storyline is much less interesting or inspiring, there were a few moments of surrealism when she, as a human, would see a creature that didn’t quite fit in and realize she had spotted a faerie creature on the streets of her own city. De Lint’s worlds are as always beautiful and interesting, and I think it’s the strongest part of this book.
There were, unfortunately, a few flaws to this book. I find it incredibly hard to reconcile with a book when I don’t like its main character. In addition, while this book is marketed as a young adult book, I would suggest a very young teen, or pre-teen level. The writing is too simple and often lacked any significant depth to really give distinctive meaning to the story. That being said, I absolutely loved De Lint’s depictions of the faerie underworld and the goblin market. If the book had been based on that alone, I would have probably fallen head over heels.
Rating: 2 / 5
“Except it wasn’t really like the sound of mouse claws running around inside the walls. This close – she leaned her ear right up against the baseboard – it sounded an awful lot like voices. Which was stupid. But then she remembered a story her uncle had told her once, about how sometimes, when you heard crows in the forest, they could almost sound like human voices.” p 2
“It’s like some storybook spewed out its characters: dwarves and hobs, goblins and pixies, and I guess just fairies of every sort. Leaning down to look at them – at so many of them – makes me dizzy with wonder, except then I look farther down and every bit of me goes silent and still in disbelief. The ground floor, where the subway rails would have been back when this was a working station, is for creatures so big I can only take them in from my vantage on this top tier. Ogres and trolls and giants. If I was down among them, I’d be no more than a bug.” p 130
“Okay, there’s stuff that makes sense. Vegetables and fruits, people selling various kinds of beverages, books, baked goods […] But then there are the things that I can’t figure out. Little glass globes that look like air bubbles, except they’re filled with liquid. Or the booth that has nothing in it but displays of what looks like dust.” p 130-131